The whole place is dark
Every light on this side of the town
Suddenly it all went down
Now we'll all be brothers of the fossil fire of the sun
Now we will all be sisters of the fossil blood of the moon
Someone must have set us up

Now they'll be working in the cold grey rock,
Now they'll be working in the hot mill steam,
Now they'll be working in the concrete
In the sirens and the silences now all the great set up hearts -
All at once start to beat

After tonight if you don't want us to be a secret out of the past
I will resurrect it, I'll have a good go at it
I'll streak his blood across my beak and dust my feathers with his ashes
I can feel his ghost breathing down my back

I will try and know whatever I try, I will be gone but not forever
I will try and know whatever I try, I will be gone but not forever

The real truth about it is no one gets it right
The real truth about it is we're all supposed to try
There ain't no end to the sands I've been trying to cross
The real truth about it is my kind of life's no better off
If I've got the maps or if I'm lost

We will try and know whatever we try,
We will be gone but not forever
Come on let's try will try and know whatever we try,
We will be gone but not forever

The real truth about it is there ain't no end to the desert I'll cross
I've really known that all along

Mama here comes midnight with the dead moon in its jaws
Must be the big star about to fall
Mama here comes midnight with the dead moon in its jaws
Must be the big star about to fall

Long dark blues
Will o the wisp
The big star is falling
Through the static and distance
A farewell transmission
Listen


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget, edited by Mellow_Harsher, embassyrow, Ant292

Farewell Transmission Lyrics as written by Jason Molina

Lyrics © SC PUBLISHING DBA SECRETLY CANADIAN PUB.

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Farewell Transmission song meanings
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28 Comments

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  • +7
    General Comment

    newly published interview with molina, thought this was cool:

    “Farewell Transmission” must be one of the most heroic recording moments of all time, because I called in people that were not already scheduled to be in the band and I was like, “Oh, now we’re going to have a violin player, and we’re going to have an extra singer.” I called out all of these things, much like a conductor does — and trust me, I’m not a conductor. I’m the break man. I will not fuck you up if I am the break man, I just don’t want to move anymore. We put, I think, about 12 people in a room and recorded that song live, completely live, and unrehearsed. I showed ‘em the chord progression, they had no idea when it would end, and we just cut it. Steve [Albini] did a beautiful job. I noticed that at one point when it was a little too loud or a little too soft he came and opened a door to make it work, because it was just an ambient recording. When you hear that song kick off everybody knows it, and what’s so disturbing to me is the way that I ended it is I was dictating to the band and Steve–I go “Listen. Listen. Listen.” And then at one point they all stop. It’s great.

    JT: I can’t even believe that was done live and improvised. That is absolutely stunning.

    JM: I got all my favorite friends from Chicago, and my favorite, good musicians and we just did this record, and it has lasted. It’s got weight, I’m talking 500 pound weight; something you ain’t going to be able to lift too easy. You have to understand we’re working on a string, and Steve is throwing us a bone, giving us the studio and everything, and we are terrified about how expensive it is and he just went the extra mile. That’s the way it works and that’s where I come from. You get the job fucking done.

    thefastertimes.com/music/2011/06/21/a-song-is-something-you-build-jason-molina-in-conversation-with-justin-taylor-pt-i/

    kangaceon July 05, 2011   Link
  • +6
    Song Meaning

    The song is about a desperate sort of sadness and regret that drives you away from everyone you know and love. The lyrics - a Farewell Transmission - can be read as sort of an explanation why he's going off on into the desert, literally or metaphorically. Boiled down, Jason is basically saying "I give up; I'm moving on" - whether it's a relationship or life itself (he did pretty much drink himself to death).

    Desert imagery is woven throughout the lyrics - "there ain't no end to the sands that I'll cross", as well as references to death and the coldness of nature - fossil fire, fossil blood, dead moon, "dust my feathers with his ashes". He is acknowledging that something major in his life is ending, and that "there's no end to the desert I'll cross" (to get away from his problems or himself), ,and worse, "I've really known it all along".

    My favorite line - "Must be the big star about to fall" - imparts a sense of impending doom - something big and bad is about to happen.

    "Long dark blues" is a beautiful phrase because it has the obvious meaning about sadness, but it also uses that same imagery he uses throughout the song that makes you feel like he's singing to you in the desert on a cold night.

    The ending stanza, as the music fades away and the instruments break off one by one until just vocals are left, is Jason describing how he's fading away, as he fades away. "Will of the wisp" (a floating ball of light), making his final sign-off, "through the static and distance".

    The repeated "listen" in between "long dark blues" at the very end is his last warning to you not to do what he's done, because this is what it leads to.

    sp00bydooon September 18, 2015   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I had dinner with Jason Molina & The Magnolia Electric co when they played a concert in Valence, France. He then played acoustic guitar for three hours, including Farewell Transmission. He is an excellent musician and a very generous person. His band are excellent. I was so thrilled and as I've told everybody who knows Song: Ohia I'll have to spread the word on the web. A muscians muscian

    tartifletteon June 24, 2005   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation

    One of my all time fave songs, so I'll give this a crack....

    This song opens with a description of a power outage in one side of a town. I took "Now we'll all be brothers of the fossil fire of the sun" to mean people are all going out and breaking out their gas-powered generators. He then describes the mill workers etc who still have to work while the rest of the world in that part of town stops. Many people ("All the great set up hearts") sit in silence and just think/reflect (something many people don't do when the electrical distractions of modern life are around).

    The song then moves to Molina's own reflection on a specific part of his past. He seems to be talking to a former lover, telling her if she wants to try again, he will rise from the ashes (past) like a phoenix, resurrect his old self and destroy the old him; he will kill the part of him that let her/them down.

    He isn't optimistic this will fix everything. He knows no matter how hard he tries or what he does, it will not work and he will eventually have to give up again but "not forever", he'll keep trying no matter how hard it is ("There ain't no end to the desert I'll cross"). To me, he is saying none of it will matter and eventually even stars will fall and the world will end. The only thing left is that he's tried and you can hear the echo of that effort. Listen.

    waterfromon June 22, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    My fave lines are "The real truth about it is/There ain't no end to the desert I'll cross." For me this relates to the unattainability of happiness or true fulfilment, to be always chasing it but for it to be always out of reach.

    RIP Jason.

    tony_mon March 25, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i love the ending when they sing at the end "listen! long dark blues" its such an incredible ending to a great song

    dmieleron April 12, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song is obviously a big "Zelda" tribute look at the imagery the moon, wolves, "Will o' the wisp" is obviously a Navi reference because its followed by "Listen" over and over and over again expressing how annoying it got when she wouldn't stop saying it. "I've got the maps" i mean come on its just such an obvious song. hahahah

    Roundaboutxon May 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I listen to this song on repeat for hours.

    Banana Republicon February 15, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song Comparison

    Here are the lyrics to the demo version:

    Now the whole place is dark Every light on this side of the town Suddenly it all went down Now we’ll all be brothers of the fossil fires of the sun Now we’ll all be sisters of the fossil blood of the moon

    Now they’ll be working in the cold gray rock Now they’ll be working in the concrete streets Now they’ll be working in the hot mill steam In the sirens and the silences now All those great set up hearts all at once start to beat

    After tonight, if you don’t want it to be a secret out of the past I will resurrect it, have a good look at it Streak its blood across my beak, dust my feathers in its ash Feel his ghost breathing down my back

    I will try and know whatever I try, I will be gone, but not forever We will try and know whatever we try, We’ll be gone, but not forever

    I will let everything be what it will It really is this cold and dark in hell At least this town’s being honest with itself Some of you, it’s getting hard to tell

    Real truth about it is, is no one gets it right Real truth about it is we’re all supposed to try There ain’t no end to the sands I’ve been trying to cross The real truth about it is my kinda life’s no better off If I’ve got the map or if I’m lost

    I only start to taste the dust I forget who I owe, and what Who I am, and was There ain’t no end to the desert I’ll cross I really knew it all along

    Mama, here comes midnight with the dead moon in its jaws Must be the big star about to fall Mama, here comes midnight with the dead moon in its jaws Must be the big star about to fall

    Long Dark Blues, Will o’ the Wisp Long Dark Blues, The ageless darkness Long Dark Blues, The big star is fallen Long Dark Blues, Listen. Long Dark Blues, through the static and distance Long Dark Blues, the farewell transmission Long Dark Blues, Listen Listen Listen Listen

    broadpathon February 10, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I must admit I don't know the full meaning of this song, but it's full of potent, forlorn images: the desert, "midnight with the dead moon in its jaws". This is one of those songs where the lyrics, the music, and, perhaps most importantly, the vocals were just meant for each other.

    goodreverendon December 18, 2004   Link

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